cacophony of the SOUNDS OF WAR morphs into the steady hum of a fluorescent
bulb, blinking above the Veteran's Affairs Benefits Approval Office. CHRIS RISNER, a 30ish Army vet, sits alone, half-asleep. He jolts awake as VA
Administrator MISS EVANS calls out his name. In her office, Chris explains
that he's seeking additional counseling and a screening for Post-Traumatic
Stress Disorder, He relates his paranoia and how his mind often drifts
back to Iraq. He admits to not taking his prescribed antidepressants and
Miss Evans uses this as the basis to deny his request. She confides that
the VA budget is so tight that they can't afford to screen everyone. Chris
accepts the decision politely, finding it hard to fight for anything
That afternoon, Chris is alone in his apartment when his estranged wife,
RAQUEL, calls. They discuss their kids and his visit to the VA. They argue
over his use of pot to relax. She tells him that he's not the same person
he used to be and that she won't return until he gets help. As he hangs
up, the SOUNDS OF WAR rise again, subsiding as he begins looking over a
collection of photo memories and his journal.
Chris arrives at the home of his friend and fellow veteran, REGGIE KEY.
Chris asks Reggie to read his journal. Reggie knows Chris is slipping away
and he offers some insight on dealing with their experiences and the guilt
of having killed men. He comforts Chris temporarily, asking him to stay
for dinner with his family.
The next day finds Chris on a crowded city street, dressed for business.
His actions start to become more animated as his paranoia grows, scanning
rooftops and faces before breaking into a run and ducking into a building,
overcome again by the SOUNDS OF WAR ringing in his ears.
Chris is at his home again, polished up and wearing his Army Dress
Uniform. Reggie calls and questions him about what the journal contains,
especially the names and addresses of TV Reporters, CEOs, Coalition
Provisional Authority Officials, and Politicians. Chris simply responds,
"Accountability," and relates how these people in power have directly
altered his life and that someone has to take a stand. When Reggie tells
him not to do anything crazy, Chris says, "What's crazy anymore -- what's
in my head or what's reported on the news?" and hangs up. Reggie, unsure
of what to do, calls the VA Hospital for help.
Chris, in full uniform, pulls into an office parking lot and parks. He
removes several weapons from the rear hatch of his vehicle. We know what
A fire truck responds, shades of 9-11.
Reggie is at his house playing outside with his TODDLER. He goes inside
and listens to a message from the VA saying that they appreciate his
concern and that they'll try to contact Chris by next week. The tragic
news breaks on the radio. Chris has been identified as the shooter of 22
people gathered at a Young Republicans meeting in downtown Dallas. As the
NEWSMAN interviews Dallas VA's Chief Psychologist DOCTOR ATEEK about the
causes and symptoms of PTSD, Reggie picks up Chris's journal, scattering
his photos of family and friends across the floor. In a final act of
irony, Doctor Ateek laments over not having had the opportunity to help